On the cookery book shelf

Wahaca

Mexican Food At Home

Thomasina Miers

Hodder and Stoughton

£20

It’s been one of those summers where clouds and rain have become the new sun. And, while the weather in recent weeks seems to have settled down with occasional bursts of heat, any little encouragement to inject brightness, festivity, or holiday-spirit is to be encouraged.

That is where this particular cookbook comes in, offering a slice of a cuisine that’s as synonymous with outdoor summer eating as balmy nights and citronella candles. Miers, who won BBC’s Masterchef in 2005, has had an affinity with Mexico since first going there in her teens and her chain of Mexican street-food restaurants in London continues to raise the profile of that phenomenon.

Her book begins with a section on what constitutes a proper Mexican store cupboard with titbits on Mexican oregano, dried and frozen chilli, masa harina, pickled jalapeños, stale and frozen tortillas, coriander and chorizo, among others. There is also a more detailed segment on every type of chillies. Aside from this introduction, the chapters are divided into portions on breakfast, market food, in the cantina, and fiesta. The best of the recipes include those for real Mexican hot chocolate; pain de miers; how to make a selection of wraps; the perfect corn tortillas; fiery little chicken tostadas; how to eat a taco vis-à-vis the dos and don’ts; steak and cheese tacos; Mexican wedding cookies; plantain and chorizo; soft-baked feta; guacamole; and how to make a selection of margaritas. Towards the end there is also a step-by-step piece on how to grow chillies. Overall, a fascinating insight into a cuisine that’s not as difficult as you would think.

 

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